Advisory Board

The Business Excellence Institute’s Advisory Board serves to bring independent thought and expertise to the Institute’s leadership. It is comprised of professionals with a diverse experience base who are champions of excellence in their own rights. They provide valuable external perspectives and help maintain a culture of openness and excellence. They help our leaders refine the Institute’s strategy and approaches to ensure the ongoing creation of long term value for all our stakeholders.

Prof Urs Bucher

Urs Bucher

Urs is a Professor in the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts where he teaches Business and Service Management with a focus on health, educational, and social institutions. He is also head of quality development for the university.

He started his career as an experimental psychologist with the University of Zurich where he taught perceptual, pedagogical and motivational psychology. He subsequently, joined NASA where he worked at the Ames Research Center. During his time there, in addition to working on perception and virtual reality, he was involved with their excellence program.

Urs holds a PhD in Psychology. He is a certified EFQM Excellence Assessor, a qualified EFQM Excellence Assessor trainer, and a Fellow of the Institute.

Heidi Fuerst


Heidi Fuerst

Heidi is a corporate finance and accounting professional with experience working in Europe and the US.

She began her career with Deloitte and Touche in Phoenix, Arizona, before entering the hotel and real estate industry with Ramada International where she was later appointed Director of International Accounting in Frankfurt, Germany. Back in the US, she spent some time in Pharmacy Benefits Management before serving as Vice President of Finance for CTF Hotels and Resorts. Since 2007 she has worked as an advisor to a number of companies ranging from tech start-ups to event management and also teaches yoga in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Heidi is a CPA and holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with majors in Accounting and Finance from the University of Arizona. She is a Fellow of the Institute.

Susan Murray

Susan E Murray

Susan is the principal consultant with Clearpath Leadership, a Canadian firm offering leadership consulting and research services to clients in the profit and non-profit sectors. She also teaches executive leadership programs at Memorial University of Newfoundland and at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto. Her research interests include effective leadership, cross-cultural management, leadership development and qualitative research.

She has worked extensively in the public education sector as a senior leader in both program development and human resources and in 2005 was recognized as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals.

Susan holds an B.Ed in Primary Education, an M.Ed in Leadership, an MSc in Business Management Research, and a Doctorate in Leadership. She is a Fellow of the Institute.

Thomas Paulu

Thomas Paulu

Thomas is an accomplished leader with 25 years of experience in international large-scale program management, business transformation, and organizational management. He has a background in operations, process improvement, and information technology and has worked in Europe and the US.

In the Allianz Group, Thomas has a proven record of successfully delivering on strategy both as Head of Group Process Architecture for the group and, previously, as Head of Global Business Process Architecture for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty. He served as a Non-Executive Director of an Irish software company (2012-2016), currently serves as Chair of the Alumni Association of Amerika Institute in Munich, and has been an Advisory Board Member of the Institute since it was established.

Thomas holds a MA in Humanities & Social Sciences from Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. He is a qualified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, a certified Kaizen Practitioner, and a Fellow of the Institute.

Jim Riordan

Jim Riordan

Jim is a senior operational and commercial finance professional with 25 years’ international experience in a variety of market, regional and global finance and supply chain leadership positions. He has extensive experience doing business in emerging markets across Africa, Asia, Brazil, Russia and former CIS countries.

As a market and regional CFO, Jim has a track record in driving strategy execution within a framework of sustainable business practices. Since 2010, he led a global supply chain business unit, working directly with small scale growers to develop sustainable business models. He is now moving to leverage this experience in the food security space, working with the World Economic Forum as a Finance & Supply Chain Senior Advisor, to increase food production to meet the 2050 population growth challenge.

Jim is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (UK) and holds an MBA from University College Dublin’s Smurfit Business School. He is a Fellow of the Institute.

Shahriar Sharifi

Shahriar Sharifi

Shahriar is a business excellence, quality and risk management professional with a background in business development and management. He has almost 20 years’ entrepreneurial and consulting experience in the oil, gas, petrochemicals, automotive, investment and construction sectors in Europe and the Middle East. He also has first hand entrepreneurial experience as a founding partner of a consulting company.

He is currently acting Global Product and Process Manager of Nordea Bank and has previously worked with Statoil in Norway.

He holds a BSc in civil engineering, is a European Excellence Assessor and a Chartered Business Excellence Professional.

Bhaskaran Srinivasan

Bhaskaran Srinivasan

Bhaskaran is a senior strategy consultant with almost three decades of experience in engineering and management.

He started his career as an engineer in Bharat Heavy Electricals where he worked for ten years before becoming a Divisional Manager with Robert Bosch. In 1998, he joined the senior management team of Philips India where, among other things, he was Head of R&D for Philips Healthcare. In 2011, he established the consulting firm Business Zenz, which serves multinationals and Indian firms in their pursuit of excellence.

Bhaskaran holds an Engineering degree from the highly respected National Institute of Technology Warangal, an MBA from Bangalore University, and has also completed a senior executive course from Wharton. He is a CFI certified Executive Coach, qualified Business Excellence Assessor, and a Fellow of the Institute.